Former procrastinators, years ago we had some furniture refinished in a place we’d not lived in very long– or at least refinishing was our intention. The wood had scratches, sun damage, and watermarks. We sent it off excited to receive the pieces restored, beautiful, and useful.
When delivery day arrived we were dismayed and upset. All the damage was still plainly visible. But someone had applied a thick coat of glossy varnish over the problems. The scratches, sun fading, water marks were still clearly there – and now they were shiny!
The men were well pleased with what they’d done and didn’t understand our objections. What they did do – the glossing over with high sheen varnish – highlighted the fact that they had not done the necessary work.
What was needed was removal of the old varnish, sanding, treating with a product to nourish the wood, then an appropriate finish. That way the healthy wood would be restored and back in service.
When we know we need “improvement,” we sometimes pour on the high gloss finish. Our “imperfections” are still clearly visible – in fact, they are highlighted!
For a procrastinator, high gloss could be excuses such as “I have so many things to do.” “It’s not possible to do everything at once.” “This has to be done too.” It could be blaming others: “The children didn’t get up in time.” “The gas station I use was closed.” “Acquisition didn’t get us the equipment.” It could be blaming circumstances: “Who knew it would snow?” “I didn’t expect a sick child.” “If this company would supply a better computer…”
We think we’ve taken care of the problem with such remarks but those around us can see we have not. They can tell. In fact, our efforts to shine – to make ourselves look better – actually highlight our inappropriate choices and unfulfilled responsibilities.
Improvement – change – requires the hard work of repair and restoration. Remove the old varnish. (Ooh, I feel so exposed!) Sand especially the damaged places. (Ouch! That hurts!) Remove broken parts that don’t work and replace them with new. (Well, I didn’t want to let go of that!) Bring the good wood out – the new man God has made us to be in Christ – by learning new ways and seal them by making them routine.
Before we turned our furniture over to those workers, we should’ve checked references and seen examples of their work. Likewise, we should examine whether or not an approach to our problems will actually address the problem or simply gloss over it.
Proper restoration of furniture and people is a longer, more expensive process. The results are much better and longer lasting. In our case, we can serve well and reflect the image of Christ.
What excuses are you prone to use instead of fulfilling responsibility?